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Is Patience Really a Virtue?

Elizabeth April 20th, 2008

Have you noticed lately how much of a rush we are all in? We rush to work, we rush home from work, we rush to sports events, we rush to school, the list could go on and on. But I have a very important question to ask you…do you or your children rush through music? Do you encourage your child to get through the current piece just so the next piece can be started? Do you or your child base success on the completion of a piece? One of the hardest things for both parent and child is to make the current piece (and more importantly review pieces) the best it can be (more beautiful, more musical, more in tune) before the next piece is started. Are you and your child patient musicians? In Nurtured By Love, Suzuki states that, “ability develops through patience”. What a wonderful statement.

In the book, Between Parent and Teacher A Plan for Nurturing Suzuki Students at Home by Susan Kempter, she states, “In a society that stresses measurable achievement and competition, it is very difficult for some parents not to want their child to be the best, or to do one book each year, or to demonstrate a new, polished piece each week. Each expectation then becomes a product by which the parent measures the childs’ progress or success. Parents, or teachers, with ‘product’ expectations are setting themselves, and the student, up for failure. Thus, parents must be helped to avoid thinking of ‘products’ and to begin thinking of the daily time, the tiny step, the moment of joy, the ability to drill, etc., as independent skills being developed each day.” “Each new skill lays the foundation for more complicated skills yet to come.”

I am giving your children a foundation that they will build upon. Would you want to purchase a home if you knew that they did a rush job on the foundation? Think about those cracks that would have to be repaired in the future. You may not notice it today or even tomorrow, but one day, you would. This is the same thing with music. I am not only teaching your child a piece, but all the techniques that go along with it. If this formative stage is rushed and they do not learn these techniques, they will not have the skills or ability to deal with what the pieces they will play later on.

I would like to again remind you of what Dr. Suzuki said in his book…”ability develops through patience.” The best gift you can give your child is to be patient with them and more importantly, to teach them patience…what a true gift that is.